There are countless articles telling you about the importance of guest reviews for improving your hotel and guest experience, so we won’t waste too much time rehashing what you already know; but, we’ll tell what you can discover from these reviews upon a second glance. This article walks you through some important points you should consider the next time you evaluate your guest feedback. First, we recap the importance of guest feedback for improvement purposes, then we will go into how and what you can learn from these reviews beyond the generic context.
Guest reviews highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your hotel. They open your eyes to innovation opportunities that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. They allow you to enhance your online presence and searchability, while engaging past and potential guests. Taking advantage of your online reputation means you continue your guest-hotelier relationship beyond check-out. This is hospitality after all and guest perception is everything; thus, one of our strongest attributes is gracefully accepting criticisms and compliments.
More importantly, the more user-generated content (content not created by you or a member of your team) that exists online, the more likely future guests will find and book with your hotel. These are familiar advantages, so let’s take a look at further benefits of guest reviews.
I used to think I was an outdoorsy person until I went camping with my dad and quickly learned that, in fact, I was quite the opposite. The bugs, the dirt, and the sweating…we survived the night, much to my surprise, but my dad made me promise to never go camping with him again. This was the first time I learned I was not what I thought I was.
Sometimes, even in business, we think we are one thing only to learn we are something quite different. Fortunately, the evolution of technology and innovation of accessible guest feedback make it easier for us – the hospitality industry – to know who we are, as well as who our guests are.
Well, consider looking over your reviews and finding a relationship between the positive and negative. It could be that your negative reviews are all from guests who were annoyed by all the kids running around the hotel. This is not a reflection of the quality of your hotel or their experience, but rather of attracting the right guest to stay with you. You could respond to the guests positively by inviting them to return when they have children of their own, and then updating your website to highlight that you are predominantly a family-friendly hotel.
Your guest feedback is a great way to discover what type of hotel you are, thereby affording you the opportunity to highlight this throughout your website and online listings. Having the right content online, as much as having reviews, helps attract the right guests.
Now that you know what type of hotel you are, it is time to evaluate who you appeal to. Approach this with the same inquisitive eye we used in discovering who you are; consider the surveys completed by guests. If you have a review management system like Customer Alliance, look into your semantic analysis and guest segmentation to see who completes the survey and what they have to say.
Through this process you could learn that your guests are mostly middle-aged travelers who are generally pleased with your atmosphere and do not often use social media. With this insight you can redirect your marketing efforts and send newsletters via snail mail instead of email. Or, if your guests are predominantly college students traveling on a budget, you could promote summer deals and student discounts on social media platforms.
Your guests provide significant insight when they leave you a review. Going the extra mile to analyze the reviews could pay off and reduce costs spent on ineffective strategies.
In a nutshell, your reviews are about more than discovering your strengths and weaknesses. They offer an opportunity to discover the hotel you are and who you attract. With this information you can develop your approach to promotion, engagement, and operations to fit the fold you and your guests fall into.
Seize the chance to get ahead of your reviews and target the right guests. Not all negative reviews are because the hotel did something wrong; sometimes, the hotel and guest are just not compatible. Much like myself and camping, we sometimes have the wrong idea of what we are and experience is the only way to realization.
Reviews are not just about pleasing everyone, they are about pleasing the right guests.
Apply your hotel reviews to your hotel’s strategic plan. Streamline your approach to ensure you (1) attract those who would certainly enjoy their stay at your hotel and (2) perfect those areas people love most about your hotel. Whether this is adding more romantic couple photos of your spa to your website or announcing your new chef – focus on whatever it is that will attract the right guests to your hotel!